Increasing bail amounts put you at greater risk after a self defense shooting

According to a recent report from the Justice Policy Institute, bail amounts are rising. And without the financial means to pay bail, you could be held in jail awaiting trial and face greater odds of conviction following a self defense shooting.

From the report …

A Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of felony cases in the 75 most populous counties of the U.S. showed that average bail amounts have increased by over $30,000 between 1992 and 2006 … Average amounts for those detained until their hearing more than doubled from an average bail of $40,000 in 1992 to $90,000 in 2006.

Why does this matter?

Many studies have shown over the years that people held in jail pretrial end up with worse trial outcomes than people who are free while awaiting trial. Those held pretrial are more likely to be convicted of a felony, receive a sentence of incarceration, and be sentenced longer than those released pretrial. The use of money bail puts people without expendable income at risk of suffering the adverse impacts of detention in their cases.

People who are able to put together enough money to post bail or pay a bail bondsman’s fee may deplete their funds and the funds of families and friends are that is needed to pay rent, buy groceries, and cover other bills. People who are unable to pay their money bail (or a bond for a portion of the bail) and remain in jail may lose their jobs, default on vehicles, lose their homes, get behind on child support payments, lose custody of dependent children, and more. The implications can make or break a person’s ability to resume life after their case is resolved.

This is why Second Call Defense membership includes immediate, upfront cash for bail. By having money necessary to get out of jail, you are better able to work with your attorney and mount a more effective defense. Otherwise, your legal and financial problems can snowball into devastating consequences. That’s exactly what happened to Rodney Lewis, who acted appropriately in defending himself, but ended up stuck in jail, losing his home, job, and possessions.

As we are always reminding gun owners, it’s what happens in the first few hours and days after a shooting that matters most. So the time to be prepared is before you have to defend yourself. Preparing for the aftermath is a key part of preparing for self defense.